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Wangberg honored as PR-B teacher of the year

Pine River-Backus teacher Lynn Wangberg was honored Monday, Nov. 18, as the 2013 PR-B Teacher of the Year.

Wangberg received the honor at the school during a Pine River Chamber of Commerce sponsored luncheon.

Wangberg graduated from high school in Chatfield and immediately went to college. She always knew she would become a teacher.

“Part of my inspiration was my Aunt Janet who was an English teacher in Chicago,” Wangberg said.

Her first degree from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph was in education, specializing in teaching English for grades 7-12. She went on to get a degree in elementary education at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

Her first teaching job was in Madison, Minn., where she taught for five years at all grade levels starting in 1979.

Wangberg came to Pine River with her husband when he began work at Houston Ford. At first she was a substitute teacher at the Backus school building for six years, then, approximately 24 years ago, she began working as a full-time teacher at the Backus school. She has been with PR-B ever since.

“I started in Backus in elementary, but because I had a high school degree and they needed a high school teacher they moved me down here,” she said.

Wangberg began working at PR-B High School in 2002, teaching English to grades seven and eight. She quickly picked up her own specialties. For the past five years, Wangberg’s classes have learned about the Holocaust through a Holocaust literature and a Holocaust era project fair.

“The projects are absolutely amazing. It’s probably my favorite thing to teach and what I feel the students get a lot out of,” Wangberg said.

Wangberg’s class is also well known to students for the Pine River Journal (now Echo Journal) scavenger hunt.

Wangberg is grateful to her colleagues who supported her through the years and to those who nominated and voted for her.

“It’s a great honor. A great, great honor. I’m really humbled by the whole thing,” she said.

Art teacher Heidi Envall nominated Wangberg.

“I happened to have her son this year and she had said she wanted him to have me, which was such a nice thing to say,” Wangberg said. “You very rarely get a lot of kudos. It was just so nice to get honored for so many years of work.”

Wangberg has spent most of her time at PR-B teaching seventh or eighth grade; she is teaching seniors this year. A lot has changed over the years. She remembers learning to use a computer mouse and once saying that she would never use email.

Also honored with nominations and flowers at the luncheon were Cheri Lemberg and Tiffany Bergem.

“To be among those that were nominated has been an honor. I have always said you are who you work with. My peers have been so helpful this whole time I’ve worked here,” Wangberg said.